Social Media and Stats and Emails, Oh My

*This blog contains adult language.

Confused Woman
This is me now.

I don’t understand any of it, social media.

Here’s the deal, if you’re a writer, you must, by default, be actively engaged in various social media outlets. Blogging, on top of my writing, is a necessity. Twitter is an unfortunate priority. All other platforms are subject to inspection by agents, publishers, and for some reason, influencers.

My energy is consumed more and more by social media. I’m meant to be a writer and side-blogger. I also have a part-time job (lately, not actually part-time) and I also write the occasional freelance article. And then there’s social media, a job in it’s own right. The more I give it, the bigger it gets. No two outlets are the same. Each is as weird and as confusing as the last. Straightup, the stats make no sense to me.

WordPress (blogging): My core community of active writers and poets. My champions. My support system. I write about writing, I also write about whatever occurs to me that I may find interesting. The stats from WordPress are the most consistent and generally make the most sense. When I release a blog, the feedback is predictable. When I write a random blog or an informatic blog (i.e. Inkbox review, The Gym Diaries), I get consistent hits from people who are searching for specific information. It just makes sense. When I write something that touches people, the “likes” role in.

Twitter (followers / numbers): What does Twitter have to do with writing? Fuck if I know. Publishers and agents want to know that writers have cultivated an online market that can be tapped immediately, so the more followers you have the more your work will be taken into consideration – garbage or not. Fucked up, right? I know that of all the “writers” I follow on Twitter very few have active blogs, share material, or produce any work at all. To date, I am followed by 8k people on Twitter. More than 50% identify as writers and I’ve corresponded with a handful of them. Most writers who identify as such on Twitter spend their days crafting carefully worded questions in order to generate an online conversation. I tried that for a bit and got bored. I pretty much stick to posting memes and blogs, sometimes the occasional quote. If I could summarize, Twitter contains my largest following, however, I get the most attention by posting memes and selfies, not blogs or publication endeavors. Go figure. To my Twitter follower’s credit, they at least like and reshare my work, even the risque stuff. I can’t say that to be true for LinkedIn or Facebook, even though LinkedIn generates the most views for my vlogs by far (see below). I appreciate Twitter for that if nothing else. The fear of being judged for “liking” outside-of-the-box content is all but nonexistent on Twitter.

Facebook (family and friends): I don’t count Facebook although that may have to change. I have a private page and a public page. Facebook is incredibly cranky to work with when you don’t pay for the polished version. It’s slow to update and posts will choke off and die in the newsfeed when you use the free version. I’m just not inclined to work with it further at this point. Then again, the potential for far-reaching newsfeeds are real. I have no access to Facebook stats so I can’t even tell if it’s worth cultivating.

YouTube (vlogs only): I can’t wrap my head around it. I don’t pay attention to views or stats at all, not from YouTube, not at this time. Cultivating YouTube subscribers is not a priority. That would mean taking myself seriously as a YouTuber. Right now, my vlogs are meant for my core audience on WordPress and LinkedIn and Twitter. YouTube is STRICTLY a placeholder for my vlogs. To think of YouTube in any other way is intimidating and I would not continue to make vlogs. I’m certain of that. Also, I don’t perceive YouTube as “social media.” YouTube is it’s own monster that defies social media norms and I’m not ready to give it my full attention. I currently DO NOT monetize my videos. Monetizing my vlogs would force me to become a YouTube content creator and I’m just not ready to take that on…yet. I treat YouTube like a storage unit for my videos. That’s the best approach for me at this time.

You know what’s interesting? When people watch my videos on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. those stats don’t reflect in YouTube – another reason I don’t pay attention to YouTube analytics. I make it easy for people to watch my vlogs on all the different platforms and those platforms, except Facebook, do tell me what people pay attention to.

LinkedIn (professional rep): LinkedIn is the weirdest by far. I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for as long as I can remember. I usually neglect it. There are two types of users, those who have a profile because they think they’ll need it and then there are the hardcore users. Lately, I’ve been a lot more active on LinkedIn because my vlogs, strangely, do the best there. My video stats – not my blog stats – blow up on LinkedIn. I can only guess that LinkedIn is…kinda boring…? and my videos about erotica and tarot reading help liven up an otherwise dull day (which would also explain the lack of “likes” despite the view hits, the fear of judgement is real). I’m still proud to post those otherwise risque vlogs. One vlog of mine has racked up over 800 views and my On Writing Erotica vlog is soon to surpass that in half the time. And yet…no online comments. Let’s talk about comments, shall we?

Comments: Y’all is shy (intentionally written). When I actively entered the online world, I anticipated being hit – daily – with online comments: Bashing, criticizing, thoughtful, crazy, pervy, rude, helpful, inquisitive, and generally just sort of ass-holey. But no. I get the occasional “corrections needed” comments about grammar and the so-called accurate origins of any given quote, but that’s about it. People prefer to hit my email. The exception is Twitter, which I don’t take the comments seriously, nor should you. Twitter is the black hole of comments. The few writers who have outreached to me via Twitter DMs, or open comments, were always polite and thoughtful, but that’s extremely infrequent. Mostly, Twitter is full of people pissing in the wind or are looking to hookup. That’s Twitter. But I take my correspondence from WordPress and LinkedIn very seriously.

And that’s my rant. Y’all, I needed that.

Comments are always welcome, email or public posts. Let me know about your social media activities. Successes? Anyone pay for their Facebook pages? What’s your experience?

Christina Schmidt, MA